US Bounty Program Fails to Rein In Terrorists

Lure of huge rewards does little to dent al-Qaeda leadership
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2008 1:17 PM CDT
Some of the men on the most wanted terrorists list are wanted in connection with the murder of Daniel Pearl and a car bombing at the US consulate.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Money may be the root of all evil, but the almighty dollar is doing a poor job to stop it: Washington’s efforts to catch terror suspects using steep bounties is largely a bust, the Washington Post reports. “The program could use some rejuvenation,” said one ex-official. “You can’t just put a price on someone’s head and expect something to happen.”

The Rewards for Justice program has been touted as a key counter-terrorism tool. But despite $25 million bounties for Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s founders have evaded capture, while another wanted operative boldly stalks past indifferent Yemeni policemen. Experts blame weak publicity, skepticism that the US will pay up, and poor execution for the program’s ineffectiveness. One suggested doling out motorcycles instead.